Galium tenuicaule A.Cunn . nom. illegit. non Krocker (1823)
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
2n = 44
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website. This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants.
Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – an interim threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
- Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017 . 2018. Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Department of Conservation. Source: NZTCS and licensed by DOC for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic to New Zealand. North and South Island.
Lowland to upland. In shady, damp and wet places, such as forest margins, scrub, stream and lake sides, moist pastures and tussockland, shrubland, rushland in seepage and near swamps.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
FACU: Facultative Upland
Occasionally is a hydrophyte but usually occurs in uplands (non-wetlands).
Perennial herb with straggling, slender stems, 10-70cm long. Leaf stems 0.5-3mm long. Leaves 2-10mm long, 0.8-3mm wide, narrower elliptic or spoon-shaped, in whorls of 4. Flower stalks up to 20mm long. Flowers white, starry, 2-3mm diameter, 3-4 clumped in lead axils. Fruit small, round, dark brown.
Galium propinquum, G. palustre, G. perpusillum. G. trilobum has narrower, longer leaves and larger flowers on longer flower stems than G. propinquum. The introduced G. palustre has 5-30 flowers per head. G. perpusillum has narrower leaves, shorter stems and single flowers.
September to March
November to May
Mericarps are dispersed by attachment and possibly also wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from cuttings and fresh seed but appears to be hard to maintain in cultivation.
Not Threatened but exact distribution unclear as it is frequently confused with the introduced Galium palustre and G. debilis. Herbarium evidence suggests it has declined from a large part of its northern North Island range but is still common in large parts of southern North Island, and along the eastern side of South Island. There is some evidence that two forms of G. trilobum exist, and this complicates conservation assessments. The one described here, matches the widespread form, and is commonly found in grey scrub communities and wetlands in the drier eastern part of the country. The other is now scarce, seemingly preferring raupo reedlands, and is a larger plant, with longer primarily sublinear leaves.
galium: From the Greek galo ‘milk’, the leaves of Galium verum being used in the past to curdle milk
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Fact sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange for NZPCN (1 June 2013)
References and further reading
Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Galium trilobum Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/galium-trilobum/ (Date website was queried)